During the Spring Semester, three different tracks – Thematic Focus, Clinical Work or Academic Research – allow students to pursue their particular interests. Allocation of places in the different tracks is based on a competitive selection process.
Students who want to deepen, broaden and diversify their knowledge in particular thematic areas by attending two seminars during the Spring Semester. Organized around small and intimate learning communities, they allow selected students to address topical issues with leading experts and practitioners.
The following thematic seminars are proposed for the 2018–2019 academic year:
The role and engagement of civil society in transitional justice are ever-developing, with practices and lessons learned over time confirming the essential role that civil society actors play in prompting, engaging in and ensuring the sustainability of transitional justice processes. This course takes a primarily practice-based approach to the subject and will be of importance and value to those from a civil society background, those wishing to work within civil society organizations and those with an interest in the transformative potential of civil society actors. The course will begin with examination of civil society as a transitional justice actor, providing a broad base for in-depth consideration of further issues; it will explore three particular modalities of action in detail (monitoring and documentation of human rights violations; engaging with supra-national mechanisms; and strategic litigation); and will conclude with an assessment of project cycle management, an increasingly vital aspect of the functioning of NGOs today.
What is ‘the rule of law’ and why is it considered important for economic and democratic development? How has rule of law development assistance evolved over the last half-century and what are its antecedents? How are rule of law programmes designed, what are their typical components, and how is their impact measured? This course considers rule of law work from the perspective of the practitioner, using case studies, procurement documents and project reports to help students understand how rule of law projects are developed and implemented in the field. The course also considers scholarly critiques of rule of law assistance, allowing students to evaluate the operational features of such assistance within a broader analytical framework.
This course examines the existing international legal framework and jurisprudence on the phenomenon of enforced disappearance. While the main focus is international human rights law, references are made, where pertinent, to international humanitarian law and international criminal law. During the course, the nature, definitions and consequences of the offence of enforced disappearance are analysed and the international legal framework aimed at preventing and punishing it is considered in depth, discussing the potential pitfalls, and the problems in interpretation and application. The examination of the mandate and the functioning of the main international human rights mechanisms dealing with enforced disappearance are a central part of the course. Special attention will be devoted to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and the Committee on Enforced Disappearances. The case law on enforced disappearance developed by the UN Human Rights Committee, the European Court of Human Rights, and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights will also be presented and discussed, to single out landmark judgments and interpretative discrepancies, as well as legal problems that remain to be addressed.
This course will explore the interlinkages between displacement and transitional justice from the angle of public international law. The two fields are closely interconnected as transitional justice seeks to address human rights violations that are the main cause of displacement. Likewise, displaced persons are recognized by the international community as key actors of transitional justice and reconciliation in post-conflict settings. Despite their obvious interactions, the fields of displacement and transitional justice have remained largely disconnected from each other in both law and practice. This has been exacerbated by the fragmentation of the applicable legal regime among a broad range of instruments and disciplines (human rights law, humanitarian law, refugee law, criminal law). Against this background, this course will provide a holistic approach to unpack the broad variety of international legal norms governing displacement and transitional justice. It will discuss the intersections between the two fields with a focus on the most salient issues at stake, including return and reintegration; restitution and reparation; displacement as a crime of international law; as well as the inclusion of refugees and internally displaced persons in formal and informal processes of criminal justice.
This course gives an overview of the role of sexuality and gender identity in international human rights law (e.g. persecution, discrimination, harassment etc.) and international humanitarian law (e.g. sexual violence). Among other things, it will present the existing treaties in the field that address these aspects and will look at existing problems and loopholes. The course also provides an overview of the ‘Jogjakarta Principles’ and recent initiatives by the United Nations (UN) Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity. A special emphasis will be put on the taboos in the international discourse and the role of non-state actors, as presented in the UN Standards of Conduct for Business on Tackling Discrimination against LGBTI people.
Clinical Work, in the form of research internships or participation in a moot court, provides a solid exposure to practical work and situations.
Research internships with leading actors like the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs' Task Force for Dealing with the Past or the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) allow selected students to acquire first-hand professional experience and put in practice what they learn in class. Students are accompanied during the entire duration of their research internships via seminars that provide peer-to-peer support and exchange of ideas.
The Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition is organized by the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria, in partnership with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
The pre-final and final rounds take place every July at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The best 10 teams from each UN region argue two-sides of a hypothetical case on issues of international human rights law before a ‘bench’ of human rights experts and judges from international courts and tribunals.
Two MTJ students can participate following a competitive selection process carried out by a Geneva Academy jury.
The academic track is designed to provide students with an interactive platform for academic research and critical debate. This track is addressed to students having an interest in pursuing academic research. The aim is to introduce students to the tools of academic research and to stimulate peer-discussions about complex theoretical issues within the field of transitional justice.
The track combines introductory sessions on the aims and methodology of academic research with seminars where students present and discuss their research proposal. Moreover, the track includes an academic debate session allowing students to critically engage with controversial issues and questions and to take on the role of advocates or critics of particular strands of argument or positions.
The Geneva Academy does not offer PhD programmes. Yet, a number of graduates have been accepted in PhD programmes at the University of Geneva, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and other universities.
One of the strengths of the Geneva Academy’s Master in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law is its comprehensive approach, bridging the gap between academic theory and professional practice.
We offer scholarships to outstanding students who are unable to secure the funding required to cover tuition fees and/or the cost of living in Geneva.
Our objective is to produce graduates who will be leaders in the humanitarian, human rights and transitional justice fields.
The Geneva Academy alumni community is made up of over 700 members who work worldwide in the humanitarian and human rights fields.
Our three master's programmes provide a solid foundation for careers in the humanitarian and human rights fields.